Why Shouldn't I Move To New York?

So for a long time I have harbored a burning desire to live in NYC for a year or so. I have never been there, but am fascinated by it. I’ve heard its good points and its bad, some people hate it and some love it. I think I would love it, for a while anyway. I just really, really want to experience living there before I die. My plans had included waiting until my kids were grown, but lately I have been thinking and reading a lot about change, and I suddenly had a flash of a thought that I could move there now! The only kid I have left in the house is my 10-year-old son, who not luckily but conveniently gets SSI, and would probably receive substantially more in NY.

I have a skill but am not a professional. I realize that it’s very expensive to live in Manhattan but surely I would be living and working in a burrough. I also realize I’d probably need at least one more adult to share expenses and stuff. My 18-year-old doesn’t seem too keen on the idea but maybe he’ll come around. Or I’ll put out an ad or something.

It seems absurd to put off something that you really want to do when you have no real reason not to. So give me a good reason not to, and I’ll considerate it.

You ask," Why Shouldn’t I Move To New York?"

You should wait for the economy to improve first.

There are some affordable places in the Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Hoboken. Be careful of the neighborhood and area with a 10 year old.

Ask a hundred more questions about the City first.

Can you and your son find enough work to pay a minimum of $800 per month rent while having a high income and sales tax?

Did you have a car and did you plan to keep your car? This can be a big headache.

Where are you coming from? Have you ever lived in a really large city?

Other than that I’ve got nothing.

Oh yeah, that economy thing. It hasn’t really affected me personally- in fact, I’m doing better financially than I ever have. I tend to forget about it momentarily. But I do work in a specialized health care field, and am in demand, so I highly doubt I wouldn’t find a job quickly.

Tucson, where I’m coming from, is the biggest city I’ve ever lived in, but I did use to live in a suburb of Charlotte, NC, and went there all the time. No other big city in the country appeals to me- I’d never live in Phoenix, Chicago, Philly, etc. Only NYC for me as far as big cities. I don’t know why it captures me so- it just seems like it would be so exciting and interesting. I do have a car.

In my fantasy, I’ve just come into a buttload of money, that will set me up there and allow me to stay a year without needing to work. I go out to explore the city daily and have fascinating adventures. That’s probably not going to happen though, so I do plan on working.

I absolutely love NYC. I loved my brother’s neighborhood in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I enjoyed when I lived in Hoboken for a while and could walk to the Ferry or Path Train and be in Manhattan cheap and easy.

Well, I hope you’re dream comes true. Good Luck.

Why, thank you! It just hit me suddenly as I was trying (unsuccessfully) to take a nap- why wait to do what I really want to do? Kids adapt pretty easily, and you only have one life.

I would say the same thing to someone who lives in New York and fantasizes about living in Tucson: what is it you want? You’ve made a statement that you don’t know why it captures you and that is not a reason. That’s being bored with your life. There’s a support group for that, it’s called EVERYBODY and they meet at the bar (Drew Carey).

You may be the happiest person ever to move to New York but you need to seriously sit down and understand how your life will change and how it will change your son’s life. You will pay more for housing and get less. A backyard to relax in is a postage stamp surrounded by high fences and neighbors who can stare down on you from their house/apartment. The convenience of a car will be replaced by taxis, subways, buses, and walking. All of the transportation nodes mean a lot of waiting to get on (made worse by bad weather) and when you do get on you will be waiting in traffic. This will affect everything you do by yourself and with your son. Think of how your son will react to waiting at a bus stop or a crowded subway because you will be the recipient of his attention. Grocery shopping, play dates, school… everything will revolve around transportation delays.

When you figure out how to use the sparkling clean transportation system full of happy New Yorkers, where is your exploration of the city going to take you? What is it that excites you? You’ll have to make new friends (yay), find reliable babysitters and basically re-establish everything you’re already doing now before you can throw your beret in the air and declare yourself renewed.

Sorry for being Mr. Bringdown but you sound like every person on the planet who would like to pick up and start over somewhere exciting (I would). I greatly fear the excitement of New York (and it would be absolutely exciting at first) will be replaced by the Tucson Blues of reality and the grind of daily living.

How about you take a 2 week vacation to New York… every year… starting next week.

I lived in NYC for 25 of my adult years, and I have to agree with Magiver. It seems that you are living in some sort of romantic fantasy, and are totally unaware of what it’s really like to live in New York. But I’ll tell you what I always tell people: New York can be the most wonderful place in the world if you’re young (especially if you’re in the arts) or if you’re rich. If you’re not so young and not so rich it can be hell. An exciting hell, but still hell.

And by all means go for a visit. But bear in mind that actually living there is very different from visiting. And if you really want a dose of reality . . . go there in midwinter when there’s two feet of snow, and you have walk your dog or shlep by foot to the supermarket . . . or go in mid-summer when temps are over 100, and there’s no AC because of a brownout.

But in spite of everything . . . I do miss living there. The city has so damn much to offer. But please be realistic about it.

walking!? WALKING!? The horrors! faints

Jeez, did a bus kill your mother or something? Sure, buses suck - New Yorkers hate the bus with a passion, its like a civic religion - but it is rarely the only or best choice for transportation. I hate to break it to you, but subways are not affected by car traffic, and you wait for them underground (they are actually far more unpleasant in the summer than the winter).


Yes, consider how awful it would be if your son became both patient and self-reliant.

Except for the part where you can WALK to school, friends houses and grocery shopping, plus, absolutely everything in New York delivers.

I’ll agree with others that you should visit first (preferably for a couple weeks, if possible), and make SURE you’ll be able to get a job. If both of those things work well, I say go for it. If it’s your dream, you’re going to regret not giving it a try, and it will be easier to move while your son is young rather than a few years from now when he’s a teenager. So…try it!

I must say I’m not much of a fan of New York (and I’m pretty young and in the arts, though I’m not rich…), but a lot of people here really love it, and maybe you will, too. I will say, New Yorkers seem to have this exaggerated sense of how “difficult” it is to live in New York, but I think it’s mostly nonsense. Frankly, IMHO New York is a whole lot easier to live in than a lot of the rest of the country: good transportation system, versatile economy…you might find it easier than Tucson! The only thing that makes it difficult is how expensive everything is.

OK, well, I open the door to my garage and I’m going somewhere. No walking to the subway in bad weather. I also don’t have to wait in line for the possibility of not getting a seat. I sit in an ergonomic seat and adjust the radio/environmental settings while waiting for the garage door to go up. When I go grocery shopping I don’t need it “delivered” because… I have a car. The beer is still cold when I get it home, I don’t have to tip myself, and my car doesn’t smell like pee.

While I’m sure there is some value learning to stand in line (in NYC) the child in question is on SSI, which I take to mean “special needs”.

You can WALK to school just as easily in the suburbs. Grocery stores are plentiful and in my area they are in the 70 to 130,000 square foot size. If I truly need something exotic I’m 30 minutes away from a specialty grocer under 6 acres of roof.

From a daily grind, there is no comparison between a large city and life in the suburbs. For the price of a modest city apartment you could own a house in the suburbs with a heated pool and a place for the kids to play in relative peace. What NYC has to offer is a huge array of artisan amenities. The number of musicals and plays cannot be duplicated in scale by ANY large city in Ohio as well as museums and high-end restaurants. That is something worth experiencing but the cost has to be weighed against the environment of daily life. Better to enjoy 2 weeks of pricey Broadway fun then to spend extra money the other 50 weeks on a concrete jungle.

You are planning to move to one of the most expensive cities in the world, which you have never been to before, without a job lined up or a place to live, in one of the worst economic environments in decades, with a dependent 10 year old? I suspect you are pulling our legs…

That’s all reasonable if you view cities (be it New York or any other city) as annoying concrete jungles that have to be put up with now and then so that you can enjoy the entertainment they offer that you can’t get in a small town or suburb. But a lot of people in cities DO prefer their daily lives there to daily life in the suburbs, in spite of the inconveniences you cite. Maybe they like the architecture, or the romance, or the type of people they meet, or the “electricity” - whatever. Point is, people aren’t dupes for wanting to pay more to live in cities if that’s what they really like, and the same goes for people who like living in suburbs or small towns. Just different strokes and all that.

I understand the electricity of the city and love of the arts, but that doesn’t address the serious disparity of lifestyle involved in such a move. That’s what we’re discussing. And maybe I’m doing something wrong but the cheapest 2 bedroom apartment I saw was $1,400/month. Hopefully that’s incorrect.

panache45 also made a valid observation about snow in the winter and electrical brownouts in the summer.

You’re fascinated by a *fantasy *of New York. I mean, I’ve been fascinated by George Clooney for years, but if he showed up with diamond in hand and asked me to marry him, I’d wanna date for a little while first.

I love New York, but it’s not magic. It won’t transform your life. You won’t wake up your first morning there to find yourself a more interesting, dynamic, and fulfilled person. You’re still going to have all the same issues and problems you have now, you’re just going to have them in New York, for better or worse.

And while I don’t think that you have to be *young *to enjoy New York, I do think that it’s best to be, well… relatively unburdened. It IS an expensive city, and the very things you think you’d enjoy about it are best experienced by people who can live at a whim.

If you’re serious about this, at least work out a plan for a long-term visit. Sublet an apartment for a month or something.

Well it use to be a lot tougher. The City was a very rough place to be in the 70s and 80s. It was scary at times to miss a turn while visiting my relatives. Visiting Yankee Stadium was to drive through a gauntlet of Squeegee-men, burnt out buildings, graffiti and other urban blight.

And that was just to get a beer in the bleachers!

Thanks for all the replies. Of course I’d visit first before I moved there. And yes, at this point, it is still a fantasy. Maybe some of you are correct that I should wait until my youngest is older, and try it unencumbered. Obviously this needs some more thought and research. Still, it’s fun to think about it and hear others’ thoughts and experiences!

If you’re finding a 2 bedroom for 1400, it has GOT to be a shithole! I left Manhattan about four years ago, living in a decent, but not highly desireable neighborhood in a 700 sf one bedroom paying 2400.

As for the OP, I would move back in a heartbeat if there were any jobs for my profession there.

But aren’t rents in the burroughs much cheaper than in the city? I understand I won’t be able to live downtown and pay 2000 or more a month in rent, but wouldn’t it only be, as one poster estimated, about 800 in a burrough? My spellcheck tells me I’m spelling that wrong, but it looks right to me.

That $800 was for a nice one bedroom in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I think the two-bedrooms were $1100 in the same building. This was 3 years back but I think rents have fallen the last few months after increasing. The outer-burroughs are definitely cheaper as are Hoboken and even Jersey City. I don’t know about schools for any of these areas.